On the Trail of White Gold – North Bavaria and Thuringia

890 km of Porcelain Trails:

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Meissen Porcelain Museum - ©GNTB

Visitors to the Northern Bavarian and Thuringia regions can travel along two scenic tourist routes which links places of interest associated with the manufacture of porcelain or White Gold as they were referred to 300 years ago. As early as the beginning of the 13th century, European royalty had been importing porcelain from China, at exorbitant prices. To crack the secrets to the manufacture of porcelain was a much prized achievement and this happened in Saxony in the early 18th century.

On January 23, 1701, the Court of Saxony announced that they had found the secrets to porcelain manufacturing and in 1710 the Meissen porcelain manufactory moved into the Albrechtsburg Castle in Meissen. From this period onwards, many porcelain factories sprung up all over Germany and Europe – some have survived to this day whilst many have closed, ironically due to being unable to compete with cheaper Asian productions.

The 550 km Bavarian Porcelain Route extends throughout the north-eastern regions of Bavaria and the Porcelain Route in Thuringia connects museums and factories in the eastern and southern parts of the state.

Porcelain trails through Northern Bavaria

Along the Bavarian Porcelain Route, visitors have the opportunity to explore 300 years of Bavaria’s porcelain heritage. No less than 40 factory outlets, specialist stores plus over 20 museums exploring porcelain can be found along the Bavarian Porcelain Route. The factories of famous brands such as Arzberg and Rosenthal are the highlights along the route and then there’s the Porzellanikon Museum complex in Selb.

Porcelain Route brochures are available, covering a variety of themes, and make it easy for visitors to plan their trips. The route passes through the north Bavarian holiday regions of the Steigerwald Forest, the Upper Main Valley/Coburger Land, the Franconian Forest, the Fichtelgebirge mountains and the Upper Palatinate Forest. Apart from its unique porcelain heritage, visitors will enjoy the varied scenery along the route as well as the opportunity to taste delicious regional cuisine.

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Meissen Factory - ©GNTB

Other Things to Do in Northern Bavaria – For travellers looking for an active holiday in the region, there are many walking and cycling routes. There are also many spas and wellness centres for rest and relaxation. If you’re travelling with young ones, there are adventure parks, zoos, summer toboggan runs to keep youngsters entertained. The swimming lakes provide fun and entertainment in the warmer months of the year, while snow-based activities offer winter diversion.

But if porcelain, sightseeing and culture are your main interests, you can explore the sights along the Bavarian Porcelain Route, stop at the many porcelain factory outlets and specialist stores and perhaps snag that bargain piece of Bavarian china. For more information visit www.porzellanstrasse.de

Porcelain Route in Thuringia

Sitting just on top of Bavaria is the state of Thuringia where visitors will find a 340km Porcelain Route.  Whilst not as long as the Bavarian Porcelain Route, this interesting and informative tourist route takes visitors on the trail of porcelain history in Thuringia and also gives one a taste of its present-day fortunes. There are plenty of porcelain museums, factories, painting and demonstration workshops and factory outlets along this route.

You can join this themed network of roads from any direction as there is no specific starting or finishing point. It covers large parts of the east and south of the region, passing through Saalfeld-Rudolstadt, Hildburghausen, Weimarer Land, Sonneberg, Saale-Holzland, Saale-Orla and Ilm. For more information visit www.thueringerporzellanstrasse.de.

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